Thursday, September 29, 2016

Gold Award Spotlight: Go Native

Carla, a Kitty Hawk Girl Scout, has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

For her project, Carla created a native plant garden at Kitty Hawk Elementary School. She then presented a lesson to third graders about native plants and why they are important, and led them in a scavenger hunt in the garden to learn how to identify native plants. Third grade teachers at the school have adopted the lessons created by Carla and integrated them into their annual plans.

Carla also created a brochure about native plants that is distributed through house rental agencies in the region to teach new residents and visitors about why native plants are important, how to identify a variety of native plants and what invasive species people should avoid planting. In addition, Carla created a video that she placed online to be used a public resource.

“I chose this project because my hometown, the Outer Banks, has a very fragile ecosystem and our maritime forest needs to be preserved and protected via native plants,” Carla said.

In order to make sure that the garden serves as an educational resource for years to come, Carla arranged for fellow Girl Scouts from the Outer Banks to maintain the space.

The Gold Award requires girls to identify an issue in the community and carry out a Take Action project to address the matter through leadership work. Nationwide, less than six percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, which adds Carla to an elite group of female leaders across the country with the honor. In 2016, Girl Scouts are celebrating 100 years of girls changing the world during the centennial year of the Girl Scout Gold Award.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Suffolk Girl Scouts Earn Silver Award

Cree Diggs-Brown and Allison Maurice, members of Girl Scout Troop 4312 from Suffolk, have earned the Silver Award, the second highest honor and achievement earned by Girl Scouts. For their project, the girls focused on helping the Girl Scout Movement by hosting activity tables at the Suffolk Parks and Recreation TGIF Summer Concert Series to help recruit new Girl Scout members.

For each concert, the girls set up tables with crafts and activities for girls, as well as information about the Girl Scout program for their parents. The girls were eager to share their own Girl Scout experiences with Suffolk families and encourage them to join the organization.

“We chose this project because we wanted to invite more girls to be Girl Scouts so that they can have some of the same amazing opportunities that we have had as Girl Scouts,” Allison said.

The girls also put together a book about their project so that fellow Girl Scouts can carry out similar events in the future.

“I hope that more girls join Girl Scouts because of our project,” Cree said. “And, once they join, I hope that they will benefit from the many opportunities and experiences that Girl Scouts has to offer.”

The Silver Award is the highest award that middle school-age Girl Scouts can earn.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Volunteers Make It Happen

Big bright smiles, fierce dedication, no-limits kindness—that’s the spirit we find in our Girl Scout volunteers. We kicked off the new Girl Scout year on September 10 at Old Dominion University. The day was full of making new friends, sharing ideas and spreading excitement about preparing for another year of fun and adventure with the future leaders of our world—girls.

The kickoff started with a welcome from Tracy Keller, our CEO, who talked about exciting changes happening that will improve the volunteer experience. Volunteers then took part in a variety of workshops that covered topics including event planning, community service and using volunteer experience to land a job. Volunteers also enjoyed visiting with community partners to learn about opportunities for girls.

A highlight of the day was the opportunity to test drive the Volunteer Toolkit, a web app that helps volunteers save time and plan for success with online troop planning.

A huge thank you to all our Girl Scout volunteers! Every little bit that you do makes a huge difference to the girls that you help shape, inspire and fill with confidence.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Northeastern North Carolina Girl Scouts Exhibit Talents at Art Gallery

By Guest Blogger Sandra Warren, with Troop 2119 in Camden

A casual conversation about how to help a Girl Scout Senior finish her GIRLtopia Journey led to an amazing opportunity for all the Girl Scouts the Heart of the South Service Unit in northeastern North Carolina. Troop Leader Deborah Verhofstadt worked with the staff at the Arts of the Albemarle Gallery in Elizabeth City to arrange an exhibition of work for not only the Senior, but also for all girls in her service unit.

The message went out that any Girl Scout who was interested could submit a painting, photograph, drawing or collage piece. They were encouraged to base their pieces off of their Girl Scout badges and Journeys. Twenty girls took the opportunity to have their work put on exhibit.

Darlene Tighe, the gallery manager at Arts of the Albemarle Gallery, was so excited about the idea of the girls displaying their work that she wants to make the exhibit an annual event for the Girl Scouts. She was very impressed with the quality and variety of the submitted pieces, and she shared that members of the public even inquired about purchasing some of the artwork, and she explained that the pieces were just for display.

During a reception at the gallery on August 26, Girl Scouts from the Heart of the South Service Unit presented Tighe with a Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast Community Award, which is given to show appreciation to organizations and individuals in the community who support the Girl Scout movement. Impressed and inspired by the turnout at the reception, Tighe will be creating a community art wall for other community groups to use to display artwork.

The Girl Scout Art Exhibit will be on display through the beginning of October at the Arts of the Albemarle Gallery at 516 East Main Street Elizabeth City, NC 27909/

Monday, September 12, 2016

Keep the Girl Scout Party Going

Camp is over, but the party never stops in Girl Scouts! Have you renewed your membership for another year of fun? We just can’t wait for what the next year will bring! But first, let’s recap all of the amazing fun and adventure at summer camp this year!

Seventeen Girl Scouts started off summer camp “horsing around” at Grubb Grove Horse Farm. This new day camp experienced introduced girls to the equestrian world, from grooming to riding!

Girl Scouts enjoyed two weeks of overnight camp sessions at Camp Darden in June. During the second week at camp, GSCCC hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new archery range at the camp. Activities at Camp Darden included horseback riding at nearby Ballyshannon Equestrian Center, adrenaline-pumping adventures and water sports and games.

Camp kicked off at Camp Skimino in July. Archery, canoeing, swimming and the ropes course were all part of the run. A highlight of the week was Camp Fury Hampton, an opportunity for girls to learn firefighting and emergency preparedness and be introduced to nontraditional careers for women.

As August rolled around, Camp Outback, located at A Place for Girls, started up. Girls enjoyed a performance from Atumpan- The Talking Drums and spent a lot of time outdoors canoeing, shooting archery, swimming, hiking in The Outback and more. During Camp Outback, Camp Fury Chesapeake took place for the first time. Favorite moments from Camp Fury Chesapeake included an aerial ladder climb and rappelling at Chrysler Hall.

Before the end of the summer, campers enjoyed two weeks of day camp at Camp Apasus. August 10, National S’mores Day, was a highlight for campers. They welcomed guests from the Sertoma Club of Norfolk, a longtime supporter of the camp, for a special luncheon. Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Alexander stopped by for lunch, too. In true Girl Scout tradition, s’mores were on the menu for dessert.

The outdoor fun doesn’t stop with summer camp! Service unit encampments, troop overnights, outdoor adventure group trips and Council events are all on the calendar this fall. Get more information at

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Girl Scouts Help Wildlife Program

Emily, Grace and Chloe from Girl Scout Troop 176 in Norfolk have earned the Girl Scout Silver Award, the second highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting. For their Silver Award project, the girls worked with the Virginia Beach SPCA Wildlife Program, which provides care for orphaned, injured and displaced wildlife.

The girls started their project by talking to staff and volunteers at the SPCA about their needs for the wildlife program. After learning that the SPCA was in need of more animal habitats, the girls got to work right away. They built 15 birdhouses and five bat boxes. They also sewed 25 pouches, which are used to mimic the natural environment of young, orphaned opossums. In order to make an even bigger impact, the girls raised money to purchase supplies, including birdseed and other animal feed, that they donated to the SPCA.

“The girls are all very fond of wildlife,” Girl Scout Troop 176 leader Jennifer Kodolitsch said. “They know that all animals, no matter how big or small, impact the planet in one way or another.”

After building the animal habitats and collecting supplies, the girls visited the SPCA Wildlife Program to drop off their donations. While there, they had a tour of the facility to see some of the animals that they were helping through their project.

In addition to directly helping animals in need, the girls wanted to expand their project and added an educational component to teach local children about wild animals and their impact on the environment. In order to do this, the girls led activities at the Pretlow Branch Library and Slover Library, where they shared information handouts, stories, games and crafts with children there.

The Silver Award is the highest award that middle school Girl Scouts can earn. To earn the award, Girl Scouts have to identify a need in the community and carry out a Take Action project to address the matter through leadership work.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Scout Ready

Instilling safety and emergency preparedness in the nation’s youth has been a growing priority. To help make emergency planning and safety education part of people’s everyday habits, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts have teamed up to host Scout Ready, a safety education and awareness event, on Saturday, September 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Pembroke Mall in Virginia Beach. This free event is open to all families to learn about emergency preparedness and sign up for scouts. Current scouts can participate if they bring a friend to join.

Being prepared has been part of Girl Scouting since the organization was founded in 1912. In fact, “Be prepared.” is the Girl Scout motto. While being prepared today has changed from those earlier years, it is still just as important. Girl Scouts are called upon to be role models for their peers and practice good safety habits. It is essential for them to know how to do a job well, even in an emergency.

A 2012 survey conducted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) found that only 39 percent of individuals reported having a household emergency plan. Preparation for a potential emergency or disaster makes a real difference for people to make quick and informed decisions in the face of emergency situations. At Scout Ready, families can visit with local first responders and law enforcement to come up with their own emergency plans, have their child fingerprinted as part of the Child Identification Program and learn about natural disaster preparedness from WAVY TV 10 Meteorologist Deitra Tate. Other exhibitors, including the American Red Cross, Bon Secours, GEICO, the Office of the Commonwealth Attorney, Spectrum Puppets and Tidewater Family Magazine will also be on site with fun and informational activities for families.

For more information about attending Scout Ready or joining Girl Scouts, visit

Friday, September 2, 2016

Girl Scouts Improve Suffolk Softball Field

Five members of Suffolk Girl Scout Troop 5292, Emily, Mia, Katherine, Michelle and Kylee, have earned the Girl Scout Bronze Award, the third highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting. For their project, the girls focused on improving the Bennett’s Creek Little League fields in Driver.

Two members of the troop played softball at the Bennett’s Creek fields, but noticed that their team did not have a specific place to store batting helmets. The team would rest the helmets on the shelf above the bench where they sat, but the helmets were hard for some team members to reach and on occasion, the helmets would fall on to the girls. The two Girl Scouts on the team shared the issue with their fellow troop members, and the girls sprang into action.

With the help of the girls’ softball coach, Dan Eckstrom, the girls designed, built and painted a wooden cubby to hold helmets and bats. To get started on the project, the girls visited a local hardware store and learned about lumber and paint to determine what supplies they would need. With help from parents in the Girl Scout troop, the girls measured and cut the wood they had picked out and built the cubby. They then painted it and delivered it to the field, where it can be used by any team to safely and conveniently store helmets and bats during games and practices.